I know these hard times so well, and though I wish with all my being that they go away and leave me for good, but if they have to visit me again, if there is no other way but to go through that hard passage again, I have learned never to complain.
The hard days of physical suffering, it wearies me talking about them, so I won’t go to the details. It gets so hard one sometimes wonder where is God in all these, if He is even there, or sees, or hears? But one has learned that dwelling in these unanswerable, endless questions doesn’t help at all.
Discipline comes to one’s aid: to remember the Word, His teachings. What does it say? Give thanks in everything; count His blessings, and name them one by one. To not to complain, not to compare, not to covet (that is, not to envy others’ sunny lives, even if one is at the heart of a storm). These are my three C’s: to remind me not to sin before Him.
Discipline. It always works: pray without ceasing, thank and honor God even if everything is painful and failing; the heart is hurting and the mind uncomprehending.
But one wants more. That is, to feel the love of Jesus. To know it and believe it, that it has never left, or ever will. And in the thick of the hard times, one’s eyes strain hard, looking for His love around. It mustn’t be hard to look, when one’s heart is open and thankful still, never bitter.
And I see them, God’s blessings to me. He didn’t have to give them, but He did, because He loves me.
My beloved husband, who, as I write, prays and fasts far from home. Who loves me wholeheartedly despite all, for the past is dead and buried and we’re new creations. This, too, is the love of Jesus.
And this, my companion night and day. My light, my path, my daily bread. His Word that has taught me everything I needed to know and learn. Feeds me, strengthens me, heals me. His words I embraced:
For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh. (Prov. 4:22)
And how can I ever forget these? He bore my sin and shame on His body and willingly died for me so I might live? These nail-scarred hands that extricated me from the grip of the enemy. These hands that lead me, guide me, comfort me. It was love that held Him at the cross and hung there to die.
And His songs that never leave me though normal breathing does. His songs that endlessly play in my heart, connecting one strained heartbeat to another, one faint breath to the next. His songs that see me through the dark valleys, and keep me rejoicing on the mountains.
Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah. (Psalm 32:7)
Oh Lord, You’re beautiful
Your face is all I seek
For when Your eyes are on this child
You grace abounds to me.*
His songs that connect me to His secret place like a vertical shaft of light. And I sit and sing one of them. I open my heart once again and tears trickle down silently. Because He has touched me and has not forgotten. He loves me still, and I know He always will.
*Keith Gordon Green